Society

‘Australia is in trouble’: The plan to fix Australia’s tax system

Australia has more than 125 taxes at a state and federal level, but 90 per cent of revenue is raised through just 10 of them. The pressure is now on to tear up the system and start again. Eryk Bagshaw WAtoday The tax-free threshold would be scrapped, tax rates would increase for every $1000 of income earned, and savings would be targeted by the tax office under one of the most ambitious blueprints for… The proposal has been unveiled as ... Read More »

Four fundamental principles for upholding freedom of speech on campus

It goes without saying – or at least it ought to – that freedom of speech should be a core value of universities. Adrienne Stone The Conversation As a scholar of freedom of speech and a university academic, it has been gratifying to see so many Vice Chancellors (and a former Chief Justice of the High Court) take it so seriously. This attention to freedom of speech is a response to recent controversies about on campus. Bettina Arndt’s campus tour ... Read More »

‘I feel like an empty shell’: the patients left behind when MSF had to quit Nauru

MSF says five years of ‘indefinite limbo’ endured by refugees and asylum seekers has led to a radical deterioration in mental health Helen Davidson and Saba Vasefi The Guardian On Thursday Médecins Sans Frontières took a rare step in front of the microphone and publicly criticised the Australian government, demanding an end to its offshore processing policy. Six days earlier its team of mental health workers had been forced by the Nauru government to abruptly stop work and leave the ... Read More »

Inside torture and trauma counselling sessions on Christmas Island

For three years from 2011, social worker Poh Lin Lee worked as a trauma counsellor for the Christmas Island Torture and Trauma Service. RN – By Teresa Tan ABC She offered therapy and support to detained asylum seekers referred from the nearby detention centre, which closed this month. At her lowest, most conflicted moments she wondered who she was providing the care for. “It might be enough for someone to get through the next week or the next day, but for ... Read More »

UN: ‘health crisis’ demands closure of Australia’s offshore detention centres

Government bears responsibility because it designed and paid for the systems in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, says UNHCR Naaman Zhou The Guardian The United Nations has called on Australia to immediately evacuate its offshore detention centres to prevent an unfolding health crisis. Doctors from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were ejected from Nauru on Wednesday and the UN high commissioner for refugees has warned that many asylum seekers who have attempted self-harm or have critical health issues now have no access ... Read More »

My Fiancé Jamal Khashoggi Was a Lonely Patriot

His ideas will reverberate from Turkey to Saudi Arabia and beyond. Oppression never lasts forever. Tyrants eventually pay for their sins. Hatice Cengiz The New York Times Jamal Khashoggi and I met at a conference in Istanbul in May. I was familiar with his work because I am interested in the Middle East and the Gulf region. We spoke for about half an hour about politics. Jamal talked about the extraordinary transformation taking place in Saudi Arabia, his native country, ... Read More »

How climate change is fueling conflict around the world

‘Climate change acts as a threat multiplier, increasing instability around the world’ CBC This week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a dire warning on global warming. The report said even an additional 0.5 C increase in the Earth’s temperature would mean catastrophic crises — and that could happen as early as 2030. It may be hard to see a connection between ISIS and climate change, but Sherri Goodman says that global warming is not only heating up the planet, ... Read More »

Lynsey Addario on maternal mortality

Renowned for her fearless coverage of conflicts, Addario reflects on the experience of documenting a silent epidemic of epic proportions Words: Hannah Abel-Hirsch British Journal of Photography Throughout the Wellcome Photography Prize submission period, British Journal of Photography is profiling photographers who are exploring the importance of health in society and the… In line with theMedicine in Focus category, BJP spoke to Lynsey Addario about her series on maternal mortality in Sierra… Lynsey Addario is no stranger to conflict. The Pulitzer Prize-winning ... Read More »

For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity

It is disgusting almost beyond words that the onetime sexual predator and obvious dissembler Brett Kavanaugh will render judgement on matters of solemn legal, political, and societal relevance in… Paul Street CounterPunch Troubling as the noxious Kavanaugh’s personal history and untruthfulness are, however, it was even more depressing to see the highly personalized soap opera over his past behavior trump momentous questions of… Equally distressing was our continuing abject failure to address the authoritarian absurdity of core political and judicial ... Read More »

Daughter’s hilarious obituary unravels mysterious life of her father

Delaware: The obituary that ran on the Delaware Online last week was a mystery – the tale of a globe-trotting Renaissance man who disappeared in a single-engine plane over the Atlantic Ocean… Allison Klein The Age / The Washington Post It was written by Alex Walsh about her father, Rick Stein, 71, a man who she said had an endless appetite for comedy. The huge response on social media has been comfort to the mourning family, she said, as people who never knew her ... Read More »

Bill Shorten: ‘We’ve got to end the climate change war’

Exclusive: Marking five years as opposition leader, Shorten tackles thorny topics – energy, offshore detention and trade Katharine Murphy The Guardian Bill Shorten has signalled Labor will keep the national energy guarantee and maintain subsidies for households and businesses to install small-scale renewable energy until 2030, as the shadow cabinet prepares to deliberate on energy policy. In a wide-ranging interview marking five years as opposition leader, Shorten also revealed Labor was in talks with the Australian Medical Association about conditions ... Read More »

Religious freedom not under threat, but we should debate limits

The immediate eruption of controversy over the selective leaking of recommendations from the Ruddock report on religious freedom shows both why the government has sought to avoid releasing the report, and… Simon Cowan Brisbane Times It is a major issue, notwithstanding that marriage equality has been one of the few direct challenges to freedom of religion in Australia in recent years. And, while there have been major court cases in the US and the UK testing the limits of free ... Read More »

What would it take for North Korea to join the IMF?

At the recent UN General Assembly, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in was discussing North Korea’s strides to build relations and open up to the world. Ana Nicolaci da Costa BBC He said Kim Jong-un had even said he would be “willing to join the IMF and the World Bank and other international agencies”, Reuters reported. Those ambitions, if vague for now, cast a light on the challenges North Korea will face as it tries to become part of the global ... Read More »

Commentary: Saudi First foreign policy comes back to bite Trump

Mounting evidence that Saudi Arabia is behind the disappearance of regime critic Jamal Khashoggi has laid bare the risks of a US Middle East policy aligned closely with Riyadh. Julian Pecquet Al-Monitor From the war in Yemen to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Washington has invested heavily in a relationship built largely on the personal bond between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and presidential son-in-law and… With Prince Mohammed widely suspected of having ordered Khashoggi’s murder inside a diplomatic facility on NATO ... Read More »

As doctors working on Nauru, we thought we were helping. Now I know we were not

The ongoing human rights travesty that is indefinite mandatory offshore detention is antithetical to medical ethics Nick Martin The Guardian When I worked on Nauru as a medical officer for refugees and asylum seekers, I never saw myself as part of the problem. But since I returned to Australia I have increasingly come to question my role in a system that is antithetical to medical ethics. The ongoing human rights travesty that is indefinite mandatory detention and the treatment of asylum seekers there never ... Read More »

Brussels casts pall over Tunisia’s desert jewel

New environmental rules in the EU threaten the country’s phosphate mines, which have spluttered since the revolution. Emmet Livingstone Politico REDEYEF, Tunisia — In the desert, far from Tunisia’s bustling ports, tourist beaches and sprawling olive plantations, lies a colossal state company that was once the beating heart of the national economy. Brought to its knees by inefficiency and social unrest, it is now threatened with extinction — by an obscure bit of legislation making its way through the Brussels machinery. The Compagnie ... Read More »